Mumbai, November 30:

Strong industrial growth and a boost in farm output helped by heavy rains are expected to underpin Indian economic growth rates of more than eight per cent for the quarter to September, analysts said.

Experts said the Central Statistical Office was likely to report fiscal second-quarter growth figures ranging from eight to 8.7 per cent today. “We have pegged second-quarter growth of 8.7 per cent, looking at the industrial production data and the expected boost to agriculture,” said Rajeev Malik, an economist with J P Morgan Chase Bank, based in Singapore.

In September, the government reported year-on-year growth figures of 8.9 per cent for the fiscal first quarter to June, second only to China among major world economies. India’s central bank in October raised its growth forecast to above eight per cent for the fiscal year ending March, which was confirmed by September industrial output data, which came in at a higher-than-expected 11.4 per cent.

“Manufacturing growth will sustain and with an even monsoon (rainy season) seen this year, the services sector will reap the benefits of growth in the other two segments,” said Ravi Menon, director of investment banking with HSBC Securities and Capital Markets, referring to farming and construction. There were solid annual southwest monsoon rains this summer, which are crucial for the farm-dependent economy.

British firms eye closer links

LONDON: Chancellor Gordon Brown, widely tipped to be Britain’s next prime minister, has called upon British companies to forge closer links with India and China. Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry’s Interactive Conference here, Brown said that small and medium-sized firms in particular should be looking to do more business with firms in India and China, and described as ‘ridiculous’ that the two countries were res-ponsible for only five per ce-nt of British trade. He said he would be leading a team of politicians and businessmen to India next year to try to drum up more trade. Over the next 15 years, up to half the world’s future growth would come from China and India alone, he said, while the G7’s share will be down to just a third. — HNS